7 Books That Could Shape the Direction of Your Business (and a new Elle & Company series!)

I can get carried away at Barnes and Noble, especially when it comes to books in the business section. A few weeks ago Jake and I walked in just to take a peek around after dinner out and left with 3 new items to add to our reading list. I believe that it’s important to be a student of your field, no matter how many years you’ve been in business or how much experience you have. So today I'm sharing a list of 7 business books that I've either read recently or hope to read in the future. Be sure to keep scrolling all the way down this post to learn about a new related Elle & Company feature!

7 Books that Could Shape the Direction of Your Business - Elle & Company

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki 

This is one of Jake’s personal favorites, and he’s been trying to get me to read it for months. In the book, personal finance author and lecturer Robert Kiyosaki discusses two main economic influences in his life: his highly educated but fiscally unstable father, and his best friend’s father who is a multi-millionaire eighth-grade dropout. The monetary problems experienced by the author’s “poor dad” contrast his friend’s “rich dad,” and by observing the two Kiyosaki was able to become highly successful and retire at age 47. In the book, he lays out his philosophy for finances and advocates income-generating assets over the best traditional jobs. This book is a great read for those of you who are looking to be smart with both your business and personal finances and investments.

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Purple Cow by Seth Godin

This book is currently on my nightstand, and I look forward to the nights where I get to bed early and get to spend more time diving into it. It’s come up in a couple posts this week, but I just can’t help it; Godin’s perspective on marketing is refreshing. In Purple Cow, Godin encourages you to strive to be remarkable, noticeable, and unforgettable in everything you create, everything you provide and everything you do in business. Because in a society that’s inundated with products and services, it’s not enough to do what’s already been done before. If you’re looking for a little boost of motivation and a kick in the tail, this book is for you. 

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Give and Take by Adam Grant

I randomly came across Adam Grant talking about this book on TV, and I knew I needed to check it out. In Give and Take, Grant argues against the age-old saying that “the nice guy always finishes last” and focuses on the correlation between success and a business’s approach to interacting with others. The Amazon review gives it a strong recommendation: “Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common. This landmark book opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform not just individuals and groups, but entire organizations and communities.”

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The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

This is on Jake's nightstand due to a recommendation by another business professional who gave it a ringing endorsement. In the book, Michael E. Gerber points out how common assumptions, expectations, and technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business. He also explains the difference between working on your business and working in your business. We’ve heard that this book will completely transform our view on running a business, and we’re excited to dig in.

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Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

While the title of this book seems absurd, don’t let it deter you from this great read. Published during the Great Depression, Hill studied the characteristics of individuals who achieved great wealth and achievements in their lifetime (like Andrew Carnegie). In Think and Grow Rich, he explains principles of success that can be applied to all lines of work. It’s a business classic. 

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The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Reis

We’ve seen this book mentioned in several places lately, and we’re interested in learning more about this “lean startup” approach that’s being adopted by many businesses. The last paragraph of the Amazon review has me interested: “Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs - in companies of all sizes - a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever.”

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The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

If this catchy title doesn’t get you, learning more about the concept of this book will get you hooked. “Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.” It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I’m curious to learn more about this one!

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A New Elle & Company Series

Because we’re big fans of continually educating yourself as an entrepreneur, we’re starting a new blog feature: The Elle & Company Business Book Club. Each month we’ll announce a new book that we’re planning to review on the blog, and we’re asking you to join in reading it with us. It will be an opportunity for all of us to learn from some great influencers in the business world, as well as give us some talking points to discuss together in the comments and through our Elle & Company Twitter chat. 

For our first book selection, we want to hear your thoughts on the 7 books we shared above. Have you read any of these before? What are you most interested in reading first? After getting your feedback from the comments and social media, we’ll announce the book for May in the coming weeks. We hope you'll join in!